Kolkata, the land of perceptible paradoxes, has invariably intrigued anyone paying a visit to the city. It’s rich past as the first capital of the British Raj, industrial and commercial decline from 60’s through 90’s, and the recent ongoing resurrection make a great puzzling cocktail. Though Kolkata is plagued with a plethora of overwhelming problems like poverty, brain drain, flight of big-ticket investments, or pollution and other environmental issues, the denizens of the “City of Joy” know how to celebrate life. The cultural uniqueness and vibrancy of Kolkata is expressed through its political consciousness, festivals, theatre shows, art exhibitions, films, and the quintessential adda (idle chat just about anything).
Kolkata dominates the economy of India’s east and northeast. Earlier it used to be the manufacturing base of the country. Jute-processing is one sector where Kolkata still rules the roost. Now, retail, IT, hospitality, and real estate are the top players in Kolkata’s industrial arena. Other businesses that are also flourishing include engineering, pharmaceuticals, jewellery, leather, food processing, cement, and electronics. IT enclaves at Sector-V and Rajarhat are abuzz with software companies. Leather complex at Bantola, Manikanchan SEZ and Toy Park at Salt Lake and upcoming Financial Hub at New Town are some of the initiatives to turn the tide in favour of Kolkata.
Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport is 17 km from the city. Like majority of Indian cities, Kolkata experiences tropical climate. The yearly average temperature in Kolkata is 26.8°C. The city has India’s oldest metro railway network. Trams can also be boarded in Kolkata. Other modes of transport include suburban railway, buses and taxis (Blue Arrow, Kolkata Cab, and the ubiquitous Ambassador taxis). Kolkata is loaded with imposing structures of the British era. Some of the must-see places in Kolkata are Tagore House, Kalighat, St Paul’s Cathedral, Science City, Victoria Memorial, National Library, and Howrah Bridge.